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Monday, February 20, 2017

Understanding The Text And Context Of Hadith

At that hudud forum on the 12th of February, 2017 Dr Maza the Mufti of Perlis gave out his latest book. You can see the cover and the Table of Contents below. Dr maza says that this is his first work in the English Language.

The title is "The Importance Of Understanding The Text And The Context Of Hadith".

I have read the book and I would like to review / analyse / comment the contents of the book here and now.

To save time (for you, dear readers) I will try to be concise. 

When I read books that have to do with religion, I always remind myself that what we are reading is always the school of thought or the sectarian understanding of religion. Because inevitably the religion has been divided into sects.

When authors like Dr Maza write such books, yes it does represent the writer's own views but they actually project some school of thought or some sectarian influence on the thinking.

Therefore my comments are directed at the schools of thought behind these views because (I can assure you) the religion is always packaged into 'schools of thought'. 

Dr Maza's book above talks about the 'sabab wurud al hadith'. Sabab in arabic is the same as 'sebab' in Malay. Sabab = sebab = reason or cause.

Dr Maza explains 'wurud' as meaning 'background'. 

Hadith is said to be records of the sayings and actions of the prophet.

Putting it together it simply means "the reasons for the background to a hadith'. More briefly, why a particular hadith came to be. 

(Note : For the benefit of non Muslims, the religious scholars believe that the religion is made up of :

i.   the Quran 
ii.  hadith and sunnah (sayings and actions of the Prophet)
iii. ijma (consensus of the religious experts)
iv. qiyas (analogical arguments of the religious scholars) 

ii. to iv. above are obviously "extra Quranic" - meaning they are outside the Quran.)

In his Preface Dr Maza points out that the hadith faces challenges  because 'incorrect interpretations of authentic narrations ...seems to not make sense to our present realities'.

If this means that hadith should be reinterpreted differently at different times then what happens to sabab wurud al hadith? Is it still a relevant concept ?

It also implies that there cannot be just one definitive interpretation of a hadith. If there is no definitive interpretation of a hadith, then there is no interpretation. Why? because any interpretation cannot be definite. So is sabab wurud al hadith still a relevant concept?

On pg 4 Dr Maza mentions exceptions like hadith about aqeedah, ibadah and akhlaq whose contents are "timeless and placeless" but there are other hadith whose meaning is connected to their sabab wurud.

From pg 5 - 8 Dr Maza talks about the hadith where some Jews came and mocked the Prophet with a sarcastic "greeting". 

(My comments : I think this point by Dr Maza is related to the controversy in Malaysia where someone said it is wrong to say Assalamu Alaikum to non Muslims. Also some Muslims took "insult" when non Muslims said Assalamu Alaikum to them).

The hadith quoted by Dr Maza says some Jews came to the Prophet and mocked him with 'Assaamu alaikum' which means 'death or destruction be upon you'.

To which the Prophet replied 'Wa alaikum' which means 'and upon you too'.

(My comments :  Greeting in the Quran is 'haiyyan' (haiyy).  If indeed the Jews came and said 'Death be upon you' to the prophet, that was certainly not a greeting.

The Prophet does suggest something else in the Quran : 

I would assume that the Prophet would have said the following to the mocking Jews :

Surah 28:55 

"And when they hear ill speech, they turn away from it and say, "For us are our deeds, and for you are your deeds. Peace be upon you (SALAMUN ALAIKUM); we seek not the ignorant (Jahil)."

This is what the Prophet taught us in the Quran. When the Jews or any other jahil person speak ill to us, mock us etc,  just say to them "SALAMUN ALAIKUM".  

This is the S.O.P or Standard Operating Procedure in the Quran. Whenever we meet anyone - Jew, Muslim, Christian, jahil, tak jahil we are told to say SALAMUN ALAIKUM or "Peace be upon you".

This is what the Prophet taught us in the Quran.  

The scholars need to explain why the Prophet would have taught us something in the Quran that is different from what the scholars say is recorded in the extra Quranic hadith ?    For example, about this matter of the Jews, is there a "sabab wurud"  why the hadith is different from the Quran?)

On pg 9 Dr Maza speaks about the definition of Sabab al-Wurud.

As I have long suspected and long expected, the religious scholars and experts cannot provide definite answers.

Dr Maza refers the scholars :

i.  "Bulqini focussed sabab al-wurud on hadith qauliyyah (the sayings of the prophet) . . .So Bulqini's definition cannot be a comprehensive one"

ii. Al Sayuti "never mentioned any particular definition of the discipline".

iii.  Ibn Hamza . . .did not make any specific definition 

The sabab wurud is certainly not in the Quran. 

There is no sabab wurud mentioned in the extra Quranic hadith either.

Then the scholars in this field (like Bulqini, Ibn Hamza and Al Sayuti) have said  "not comprehensive, no particular or specific definition" of sabab wurud ! 

If that is the case, then how are we going to talk about it with any certainty ?  

I think this is a valid question.

On pg 11 Dr Maza says that "What causes the existence of a hadith is the day on which it occurred."

I think you can say this for just about anything that happens under the sun. 

But I was also looking for a mention of a complete set of sabab wurud. Is there such a thing?

Can we go to some library or university somewhere in the Islamic world or anywhere else and read a full and complete set of books which provide a full and complete sabab wurud that explains the "caused the existence of a hadith the day on which it occurred"    for each and every hadith?  

Are there any such collections? Or is it a new area of study that has to be "compiled" as we go along so that it "makes sense to our present realities" ?

Before that there is also the question if we have the complete collection of ALL the prophet's hadith ? 

There are collections by Bukhari, Muslim, Abu Dawud etc. Not all the hadith are exactly the same or even similar among them. Some have collected more hadith while others have collected less.

I have already raised the question of the missing Friday sermons of the Prophet. The prophet's mission is believed to have lasted 23 years.  The prophet is said to have been the imam or prayer leader throughout the 23 years, with few exceptions. 

But other than a part of two Friday sermons (khutbah Jumaat) that are mentioned in the hadith, the remaining 23 x 52 = 1196 Friday sermons (approximately) of the Prophet are missing.

Is there a sabab wurud to explain how come those 1,196 (approximately) Friday sermons of the Prophet are missing from the hadith collections? This can be an area for further research. 

That is all for now.   Will follow up if I have time.   

Cara UMNO Mainkan PAS Dan Pemimpin PAS Rela Di Mainkan

Someone sent me this. Thank you.

Prosesnya selepas ini adalah seperti berikut: 

1) kami sedang menunggu keputusan Tan Sri Speaker sama ada membenarkan pindaan usul ini dibentangkan, dibahaskan dan diundi di Parlimen sekarang (sedang bersidang). 

LINTAS LANGSUNG (Tan Sri Speaker baru sahaja menjemput Ahli Parlimen Marang membaca pindaan kepada usul). 

2) Jika diundi dan diluluskan, ia dikira sebagai bacaan pertama dan dipulangkan kepada kerajaan untuk dipertimbangkan. 

Perkara ini mati di situ sahaja sekiranya menteri tidak kembali ke Dewan Rakyat untuk membentangkan rang undang-undang ini bagi bacaan kali kedua. 

TERKINI Tan Sri Speaker memanggil Ahli Parlimen Marang untuk membaca usul. Ahli Parlimen Marang membaca dan meminta untuk menghuraikan cadangan beliau itu dalam sessi yang akan datang. 

Maka usaha untuk membentangkan RUU355 mati begitu sahaja hari ini. 

Tetapi polemiknya akan bersambung lagi hingga ke sessi akan datang. Ahli-ahli PAS akan terus diberi harapan bahawa Umno mahu bersama-sama mendaulatkan Islam melalui pindaan akta ini. Kalaulah Umno terus bermain begini sehingga ke belanjawan akan datang, adakah ahli parlimen PAS akan terus berkecuali dalam undian belanjawan akan datang? 

Kali pertama saya menulis mengenai perkara ini lebih sebulan lalu, saya nyatakan secara terbuka jika usul dibentangkan dan diundi, saya tidak ada masalah menyokong kerana memang kita mahu dengar pandangan Umno dalam perkara ini. 

Tetapi apabila berulang kembali perkara ini pada hari ini, jelaslah permainan Umno dalam perkara ini dan saya khuatir PAS akan terus dimain-mainkan

Akhirnya PAS akan terus dilihat berkawan dengan Umno dan memanjangkan tempoh berkuasanya Najib Razak. Saya bersedia mengundi dan menyokong usul asal. 

Selepas dirunding dengan Umno Selasa lalu, usul dipinda pada saat-saat akhir hingga kaedahnya sudah menjadi takzir (kecuali sebatan) dan bukannya hudud seperti yang diwar-warkan. 

Hari ini, Ahli Parlimen Marang sekali lagi menunda dari membentang dan menghuraikan usul beliau. 

Permainan Umno itu jelas dan saya ambil pendirian sebegini bermula dari hari ini. 

Rafizi Ramli 
Ahli Parlimen Pandan


FEBRUARY 18, 2017 01:28 

real, multiple difficulties confronting Egypt

Sisi's claim to legitimacy : patriotism, promises betterment, stability

harsh repression of political opposition
severe checks on independent civil society 
restrictions on judicial independence.

times especially tough for ordinary Egyptians
Revenue from tourism declined 50% during 2015-16

population increased 17.3 million to 94 million over decade
burdens on social services, educational and labor market 
Official unemployment 14%; youth unemployment 40%.

Sisi negotiated 3-year loan package of US$12 billion
contingent on (GST), lowering subsidies, currency adjustment, trim public sector

14% devaluation of Egyptian pound in March sparked inflation
acute shortages in essentials, sugar, poultry, rice, medications. 
Pharmacists incurred wrath of public 

the deal with IMF -  law cutting public sector employees enacted

Egyptian pound immediately halved
energy subsidies slashed, fuel price increase 30-45%.
For importers new exchange rate catastrophic 

pound’s 100%+ devaluation spiked inflation
24% in Dec, some  prices rose 80%.

unwise to ignore difficulties confronting Egyptian society 

My comment : What is happening is that Egyptian society is facing a situation where their car has run out of fuel, they have got out of their cars, they are standing by the roadside and they do not know what to do.

This will soon happen in Malaysia. It has to happen in Malaysia. 

The main difference is that in Egypt it affects everyone equally, especially the poor.

In Malaysia it will affect the Malays and some other Muslims more than the non Muslims.

Look at the highlights in yellow. Isnt this what has happened here already?

Now look at the highlights in red above. Former KSU of the Finance Ministry Tan Sri Sheriff Kassim recently wrote an open letter to the prime minister saying that the govt should trim the civil service now before they run out of money to pay salaries for our 1.6 million civil servants.

That is what the IMF has imposed upon Egypt.  Meaning yes their Civil Service is bloated and they must cut it down.

Isnt the Malaysian Civil Service also bloated?

Ok here is the soalan cepu mas. How many per cent of the Malaysian Civil Service is non Malay (Chinese, Indian etc)?  5%?  

Meaning the majority of Civil Servants are Malays. If the gomen is forced to cut the Civil Service (and they will have to, they have little choice) then what will those mostly Malay Civil Servants do? 

Can they all become Uber drivers? Can they all sell nasi lemak? Not likely. 

The vast majority of Chinese are already independent of subsidies and independent of the gomen. They will continue surviving - although they too will suffer a slowdown. 

The CIA World Fact Book says about Malaysia :

Population:  30,949,962 (July 2016 est.)
Ethnic groups:  Malay 50.1%, Chinese 22.6%, indigenous 11.8%, Indian 6.7%, other 0.7%, non-citizens 8.2% (2010 est.)

Going by these numbers, about half the population will run out of fuel. They will not know what else to do. 

The other half will know what to do. They may not run out of fuel yet. 

This is not good. But there are extremely easy solutions. 

Much better than simply firing the Civil Servants.